3. Basic Origami Folds

Basic Folds

The basic origami fold comes in two main styles with many variations.

  1. Triangle Basic Fold – can be used for mountain, volcano, arrow up. Turn so point is down and open edge is up, can use for cone or pocket.
  2. Diamond Basic Fold – position to page as a square or a diamond.

TIPS for paper folding:

  1. Have clean and dry hands.
  2. Work on a hard clean and dry surface. This causes less crumples on the paper.
  3. Most of the time make a crease or fold, then open out again, before doing the next fold. This gives a sharper crease.
  4. Use your index nail to sharpen crease, working from the centre out. Sharper fold and fold in the right place – it doesn’t tend to warp offline.


a. Triangle Basic Fold

hf5 frugal crafter basic fold

1.    Take a piece of square paper, best over 8 cm. Think about the space available in your folder and what information or pics you want to include.

2.    With pattern side down, fold one corner point diagonally to the point opposite. “Kiss the corner.” Open out.

3.    Turn paper a quarter turn and place other diagonal pair of corners together and crease. Open out.

4.    Turn the paper over with pattern up. Now crease a parallel line between two opposite edges of the paper.  Take two corners on the same edge and fold them over to the opposite pair of corners. “Kiss the corners.”  Open out.

5.    Quarter turn and do the same for the other pair.

6.    With pattern side up, you now have an “X” and “+” on your paper.

7.    With your thumb and index finger hold onto front two mountain folds – ‘wings’, then catch or pull in the back wings with your middle fingers. Sharpen creases.

Penny Wessenaur: archived photo – takes a while to load (updated Feb 2014)
(stop at step #6; beyond that is for teabag folding, another origami-based paper craft)

* Pictures of basic fold made into a heart

b. Diamond Basic Fold

diamond'TBF'PennyW As above but start with pattern side up. Click pic to enlarge.

* Note: The shape of the mountain folds on the patterned side of the paper indicates whether you have folded a triangle or diamond basic fold.

* Change from triangle to diamond fold (or vice versa), if you are not using patterned paper, by putting your thumb on the centre vertex and ‘pop’ it through the other way. Grab the wings and sharpen crease. Take care not to create more creases. Sharp and clean folds is what you’re aiming for – working on the table and not in the air.

* When not using square paper
Most of the time use square paper for these basic folds, though there are times you may want to use this fold – when folding a worksheet, article, or sketch – with standard size rectangle paper (A4, everywhere except USA and Canada).
It is trickier creating the diagonal lines. Work from the centre point by diagonally folding one pair of adjacent creases, matching the lines onto each other. Work with the shorter side towards you. Sharpen the crease on the table from the centre out to one edge and then from centre to other edge. Open out.
Quarter turn and do the same for the other diagonal fold.
Similar to using square paper, but in this situation, fold the ‘+’ first.

Here’s a photo-rich page, from 2005, talking about a concertina book, which is several basic fold diamonds put between two hard ends or covers (be inspired):
Symbols commonly found in origami instructions

2 Responses to “3. Basic Origami Folds”

  1. Penny Wessenauer Says:

    Hi Johanna, I’m happy to see my fold sheet being used in this manner.. Congratulations on an excellent site, very educational!

  2. Origami Lover Says:

    Good post. I just found this Origami-inspired Twitter icon at Digg, which you can use on your blog if it is running WordPress.

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